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Code of Conduct

The Student Conduct Statute 2021 contains the Code of Conduct, which applies to all students both on and off campus.

The purpose of the Statute is to promote the University's academic aims and a sense of community through the cultivation of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding.

Student Conduct Statute 2021

University of Otago Code of Student Conduct

The purpose of the Code of Student Conduct is to promote the University’s academic aims and a sense of community through the cultivation of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding. To this end, the University expects that students will not engage in behaviours that endanger their own or others’ safety and wellbeing.

Students are expected to conform to the standards contained in this Code of Student Conduct off campus as well as on campus.

The University reserves the right to pursue through its disciplinary procedures matters that are also being, or may also be, addressed by the legal system or under the University’s Ethical Behaviour Policy processes.

Requirements of student conduct

The basic rules of conduct require that no student shall:

  1. unreasonably disrupt any teaching, study or research or the administration of the University either wilfully or by engaging in conduct which ought reasonably to have been foreseen would cause disruption;
  2. wilfully obstruct any member or employee of the University in academic work or in the performance of duties;
  3. wilfully misuse, damage or deface, steal or wrongfully convert to the student’s own use any property of the University or of any member of the University;
  4. wilfully acquire by theft or deception the benefits of any service provided by the University or any academic advantage;
  5. engage in actions that:
    1. amount to sexual misconduct as defined by the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Ethical Behaviour Policy; or
    2. amount to assault or which result in, or can be reasonably expected to result in, harm to a person or persons; or
    3. are unreasonably disruptive to other members of the University or the local community; or
    4. result in, or can be reasonably expected to result in, damage to property of any person; or
    5. are otherwise unlawful;
  6. threaten, intimidate, abuse or harass another person or group, including by electronic means and including in relation to matters of race or any other prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993;
  7. organise or participate in an event in the nature of an initiation that requires or can be reasonably regarded as pressuring a person into:
    1. the use of alcohol or drugs, including cigarettes and vaping products; and/or
    2. the undertaking of unlawful activities; and/or
    3. the undertaking of activities that carry risk of harm to a person or property.
  8. fail to comply with the proper directives of a University Official, including refusing to identify oneself;
  9. lie to, or misrepresent information to, the University or any University official;
  10. fail without good reason to co-operate with the University’s disciplinary procedures;
  11. fail without reasonable cause to comply with any penalty imposed under this Student Conduct Statute;
  12. be party to or attempt to commit an act of misconduct as set out in the foregoing rules.

Staying safe and well

Your years at Otago will be life-changing. You will gain knowledge and skills, make new friends and learn to live independently. While having fun and trying new experiences will be the cornerstone of your time as a student, it is important to keep yourself and others safe.

As part of our responsibility to keep all members of the University community safe, the University has a Code of Student Conduct. The Code is a set of common-sense rules that prohibit disruptive, threatening, violent, deceptive, discriminatory and otherwise unlawful behaviour. Activities that are likely to endanger your own or others’ safety will not be tolerated.

The University relies on Campus Watch to help us maintain a safe and healthy campus and to ensure that the provisions of the Code are observed. The Campus Watch teams are out and about on campus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They work hard to make sure that you and the rest of the University community are safe. They provide advice on how to stay out of trouble and they will help you be part of the Dunedin community.

The Code of Student Conduct is part of the University Student Conduct Statute. The Statute aims to promote safety and wellbeing through encouraging mutual respect, tolerance and understanding. But where called for, the Statute gives the University the power to fine and impose community service penalties for offences committed on or off campus and for serious misconduct to suspend or exclude students from the University. The Statute also requires suspected student misconduct to be investigated fairly. A tikanga-led process is also available in suitable cases.

Here are some of the behaviours that put you at serious risk of facing exclusion from the University for a semester or more:

  1. Any form of physical or sexual assault, sexual misconduct, harassment, or racism.
    All members of the University community have the absolute right to be safe and free from harm or intimidation in their interactions with others. This right includes interactions that take place in person or via electronic media. The University will not tolerate harassment or racism of any kind. All sexual interactions must have freely-given consent. Please keep in mind that a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or other substances cannot provide consent. Situations where members of Campus Watch are obstructed or assaulted will be viewed very seriously.
  2. Organising or participating in any initiation event or ceremony that jeopardises your fellow students’ wellbeing, personal, physical or emotional safety, or encourages breaking the law.
    Organising or participating in initiations requiring the consumption of alcohol or the use of any drug are strictly forbidden. The statement by any student that they willingly participated will not excuse the organisers of responsibility.
  3. Any offence relating to fires and “couch burning”.
    If you are caught lighting or trying to light a fire illegally, or adding rubbish to a fire, this will be treated as a serious breach of the Code.
  4. Throwing or breaking bottles.
    If you throw bottles at anyone, including fellow students, the Police, Campus Watch or members of the Fire Service, expect to be in serious trouble. Deliberate breaking of bottles and glass will be punished; broken glass is hazardous to feet and tyres.
  5. Forging documents and signatures.
    Do not be tempted to alter official forms illegally or to forge signatures. This amounts to fraud and can have serious consequences.

During your time at university it is important that you understand the consequences of the risks you take, including drinking and drug use. The reality is that excessive use of alcohol or drugs may result in physical injury, sexual misconduct, brain damage, involvement with the Courts, or harm to others. Intoxication does not excuse offensive or criminal behaviour. If you are concerned about your binge drinking or drug use, confidential medical and counselling help is available through the University’s Student Health Service:

Student Health